International Student Life

International Student Life

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is located across the street from Lake Michigan and near the Magnificent Mile, Chicago's world famous shopping district. The School is located within a 5-20 minute walk from popular Chicago tourist attractions, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Navy Pier, Grant Park, Millennium Park, John Hancock Center, the Water Tower, the Tribune Tower, Wrigley Building, and the notable Chicago River.

In addition to having an unbeatable location, the community at Northwestern Law, like many Chicagoans, is famous for its Midwest-style hospitality, friendliness, and sincerity. To many international students, it is highly favorable to study and to live in such a supportive environment. More specifically, the supportive environment at Northwestern Law consists of the following:


Course Offerings
Northwestern Law takes pride in its diverse array of academic offerings. Most courses at Northwestern Law are open to LLM students, providing a large variety of courses for students to choose from. Courses range in a variety of formats, from seminar classes to lecture classes to interactive simulation-based classes. There is a wide range of subjects for students to choose from, including classes in business law, classes in human rights, and skill-based classes in trial advocacy and negotiation. Professors at Northwestern Law are accessible and enjoy discussing their courses outside of class.

Mixed Class Enrollment with JD Students
The enrollment for most classes at Northwestern Law is made up of both LLM students and JD students. By taking the same classes as JD students, LLM students have the opportunity to learn from the JD students as well as to share their culture and understanding of the law with JD students. This also helps LLM and JD students develop friendships with each other outside of the classroom and enriches the academic learning experience for everybody.

Co-Curricular Lectures and Offerings

English as a Second Language Program
Northwestern Law offers English as a Second Language (ESL) support to international LLM students. The ESL program provides writing coaches, access to cutting edge pronunciation software, and placement into discussion groups to assist students with their transition to an English-speaking educational setting. See ESL Services for International Students for more information.

Lunch Lectures
Since most LLM students do not take first year JD classes, Northwestern Law provides LLM students the opportunity to attend introductory lectures on basic American law subjects. These optional lectures, which are held during the lunch hour, include topics such as Constitutional Law, Contract Law, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure Law, and Criminal Procedure.

Academic Workshops
Northwestern Law supplies a variety of workshops to assist international LLM students. APEx, a program designed to help students with academic, professional and exam excellence, sponsors many academic workshops including LLM Exam Preparation, Paper Writing, and LLM Curricular Advising. Curricular departments at the Law School provide workshops on various subjects, such as Mediation or Mergers and Acquisitions.

Extracurricular Activities

JD-Ambassador Program
Sponsored by the International Law Society (ILS) and the International Programs, the JD-Ambassador Program Office is designed to create ongoing relationships between JD and international LLM students, to ensure a smooth transition to Northwestern Law for LLM students, and to provide professional network opportunities. JD Ambassadors provide information about life at Northwestern Law and serve as resources for academic programs, the city of Chicago, and ongoing social activities. LLM students in return can provide practical insight and knowledge about markets outside the United States, share a wealth of experience with JD students, and contribute significantly to the continuing social vibrancy at Northwestern Law.

Ambassadors will provide answers, feedback, and advice to LLM students as they get settled into Chicago life. As the JD-Ambassador Program is intended to provide ongoing relationships with JD and LLM students, additional events are planned throughout the year to foster this initiative in addition to numerous informal activities. LLM students will have endless opportunities to participate in a variety of activities like taking an architectural tour via a boat cruise on the Chicago River, enjoying the fall weather for sports and visits to any of the numerous parks, attending outdoor concerts or food festivals, getting together with the Sports Law Society to watch a soccer game on campus at the Law School, and spending Thanksgiving Day with local faculty members/JD students' families. The opportunities are boundless and cultivate relationships that could last a lifetime.

Global Café
Global Café is an informal gathering of international students during both the fall and spring semesters. It provides a retreat for students to take a break between classes, chat with fellow classmates and enjoy a cup of coffee and cookies. This is a great occasion for LLM students to meet one another and interact with the diverse members of the Law School community.

Global Village
Global Village is one of the largest and most popular annual community events held at Northwestern Law. The event is tailor-made for international LLM students to feature, showcase, and share their unique cultures and heritages. Students have often prepared food, dressed up in costumes, used décor, and designed activities for others in the Northwestern Law community to experience a taste of their culture. Past performances at Global Village have included Chinese Kungfu, Taiwanese traditional dance, a Japanese tea ceremony, and student rock bands. According to many LLM and JD students, Global Village is one of the most memorable experiences during their time at Northwestern Law.

Watch the Global Village video.

Field Trips
The International Programs Office regularly sponsors field trips to allow international LLM students to visit numerous institutions in Chicago. Previous field trips have included the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Historical Society, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Freedom Museum, and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. These events present great opportunities for students to experience Chicago's sophistication and variety.

Other Activities
Participating in sports is a great way for LLM students to get involved at Northwestern Law. Northwestern has intramural sports leagues open to all students at the Chicago campus. Many LLM students often form either their own teams or form teams with other JD students to compete in a variety of intramural sports, such as indoor soccer and basketball. For the past several years LLM students have played soccer against the University of Chicago LLM team. Games are held semi-annually, and friends and fans are encouraged to watch and cheer! In addition to sports, the International Programs Office also sponsors an international film festival held at the Law School. In this event, LLM students not only select the movies from their home countries, but they also host post-film cultural discussions to advance mutual understanding and cultural exchange.

Participation in Student Organizations

The Student Bar Association
The Student Bar Association (SBA) invites LLM students to participate in its various committees. Additionally, an LLM representative is elected to the SBA board each fall. The SBA is highly committed to serving LLM students during their time at Northwestern Law. In conjunction with the Student Services Office, the SBA sponsors an annual spring Leadership Retreat available for both LLM and JD students, who will have the opportunity to develop leadership abilities and address concerns within the Law School community.

Other Student Organizations
Northwestern Law has more than 40 Student Organizations, and they are all open to international LLM students. Participating in student organizations is an excellent way for LLM students to gain knowledge, develop interests, and make friends. International students particularly enjoy getting involved in the International Law Society. Many student organizations have an assigned week during which they hold events, feature guest speakers, and allow students to experience different types of food.

Adapting to Life in Chicago

  • Community Resource Guide - Issued through Northwestern's International Office, this Guide contains useful information about housing, shopping, banking, community organizations, recreation and more.
  • Graduate Housing
  • Health Service
  • Health Insurance
    All international students are required to enroll in Aetna Student Health Insurance provided by Northwestern University. If you have questions please contact Ms. Wendy Weaver, Insurance Representative and Student Insurance Advocate via e-mail at or via phone at 312-503-1242.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services Workshops
    The University's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides a variety of programming to help international students adjust to life in the United States. This programming includes workshops in "Cultural Shock" and "Stress Management."
  • International Office Workshops
    The International Office (IO) services and workshops regarding students' immigration status. In the past, the IO has provided workshops on Optical Practical Training, Curricular Practical Training and informational workshops on tax filing.

Career Building

The Career Strategy Center
The Career Strategy Center sponsors a number of programs and events throughout the academic year for international LLM students including a résumé and cover letter workshop, networking and interviewing programs, mock interviews with practicing attorneys, and job fairs in New York and Los Angeles. Northwestern Law makes all efforts to assist our international LLM students in building a strong foundation for their future career opportunities not only in the U.S. but also around the world. The Career Center also maintains a list of Northwestern LLM graduates whom you may contact for career-related information and advice.

Public Service Opportunities

Northwestern Law values its commitment to public service and encourages all of its students to give back to the community throughout the academic year. The public service program provides opportunities through three major categories: curricular offerings, co-curricular opportunities, and career assistance. LLM students who complete at least 15 hours of public service work during the school year are recognized for their outstanding volunteer work at the Public Service Luncheon and students will be recognized in the graduation bulletin and will wear distinctive purple and gold cords during Convocation. Read testimonials of students.